Ducks Unlimited Canada gets Saskatchewan landowners to flex their farms’ muscles with new program

With the goal of partnering with farmers and helping them get the most out of their land, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) launches FlexFarm, a new pilot program in the Humboldt, Sask. area.

“Ducks Unlimited Canada has always offered incentives to landowners to restore natural areas across the country, but FlexFarm goes beyond that and pays farmers for each ecological benefit their land provides society,” says Paul Thoroughgood, regional agrologist for the Prairies and FlexFarm lead for DUC. “Farmers get paid for the canola, wheat or corn they produce. FlexFarm pays for the natural commodities such as flood retention, carbon sequestration, nutrient removal and wildlife habitat also provided by their land.”

There are always areas on a farm that are not nearly as productive as the rest. FlexFarm provides an opportunity to maximize the land’s potential by taking marginal areas and converting them into grasslands or sloughs. With a long list of ecological benefits and payments provided for doing this, it helps producers become even more environmentally and economically sustainable.

“We have professional agronomists who will work directly with landowners to identify the areas that are not profitable on their farm and to find solutions to their land management issues,” says Thoroughgood. “FlexFarm provides a cropping alternative on marginal lands helping maximize overall profits from a farming enterprise.”

The unique thing about FlexFarm is it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of program. DUC agronomists work one-on-one with producers to determine what works best for them. It is completely voluntary with the option to buy-out at any time.

The first FlexFarm pilot is available in the three rural municipalities of Hoodoo, Three Lakes and Humboldt. DUC plans to expand FlexFarm to other regions in Saskatchewan and across the Prairies. DUC continues to offer its suite of conservation programs in its target areas across the country.

To learn more about FlexFarm and to see a short video about the program, visit the FlexFarm booth at Western Canada’s Crop Production Show in Saskatoon, Sask. located at Hall B31 or check out ducks.ca/flexfarm.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at www.ducks.ca.

Looking for more news about DUC and agriculture? Visit DUC’s agricultural content centre to find stories, videos and photos of our partnerships with farmers across Canada.